Market Segmentation: The Omaha Condominium Market

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1 Market Segmentation: The Omaha Condominium Market Page 1 Market Segmentation: The Omaha Condominium Market Roger P. Sindt Steven Shultz Department of Economics and Real Estate University of Nebraska at Omaha Introduction A highly visible and growing niche in the homeownership market is the condominium form of ownership, called by various names such as villa, townhouse, new- and conversioncondominiums. Cooperative sales are also generally lumped together in this market segment of the residential housing market. Condominium ownership represents an increasingly available alternative to both apartment rental and other forms of single-family housing ownership. This market has not only expanded in the traditional resort and recreational areas but also in the mature suburbs and central business districts of cities of all sizes across the United States. Condominiums as a distinct market class have only been in existence in the United States since Condominium development began about 1970, with the greatest momentum in terms of numbers having been realized only in the last five years. About 5% of the existing occupied housing supply is in the form of condominium or cooperative ownership. On a regional basis, US Bureau of the Census shows the highest concentration of condominiums and cooperatives are found in the Western United States with the lowest concentrations found in the Midwest region. On the demand side the condominium market has been fueled by a variety of buyer characteristics including speculative purchases by investors. On the supply side, condominium development and conversion has occurred at record paces, especially on the East and West coasts which have lead to recent price declines in some of these oversupplied markets. The Greater Omaha market has also experienced increased condominium development activity, which is especially visible in the Downtown market area where the bulk of new development and marketing activity has been concentrated. While demand has increased across the Omaha market since 2000, the major distribution of condominium sales has occurred outside of the Downtown area. Objectives of the Paper This paper has the following objectives to: Identify and discuss characteristics of the condominium market which differ from other forms of owner-occupied residential housing Analyze the emerging Omaha Area condominium market with regard to comparative economic characteristics in three sub-regions of the Greater Omaha Housing Market Condominium Defined The term condominium refers to a legal ownership entity defined by state statute. A condominium regime is established according to state statute as a legal document among unit owners and sets operating procedures and requirements for such things as the Home Ownership Association (HOA), monthly association dues, dealing with common area maintenance and repair and election of a board of directors among others. This paper also includes cooperative ownership

2 Market Segmentation: The Omaha Condominium Market Page 2 of multifamily units in the analysis due to the lack of data which separates the two types of ownership structures. Cooperative ownership involves a legal entity, usually a corporate entity, holding legal title to the real estate with claims on individual units provided by a share of stock in the corporation together with a proprietary lease which gives the shareholder the right to occupy (and responsibility for) a given unit. The Condominium Regime. Ownership of a condominium unit means a fee simple ownership of a specific unit and an undivided ownership interest in all of the common elements of the condominium regime. A condominium regime can be applied to any form of land and improvements. The condominium form of ownership has been applied to recreational property, for example, recreational ranch land in which the buyer receives a small piece of land on the ranch in fee simple with an undivided ownership interest in the common elements which turns out to be most of the ranch proper. Monthly Ownership Costs, Fees and Special Assessments. Condominium ownership results in similar out-of-pocket costs experienced by other forms of homeownership. These costs include principal and interest payments on a mortgage, property taxes and hazard insurance premiums. Maintenance and repair expenses will also be incurred on the owned unit. Additionally, a major expense which buyers of condominiums become liable for is the monthly homeowner association (HOA) assessments which are collected to defray obligations of the HOA recurring expenses such as common area maintenance and repair, utilities, property taxes, building liability and hazard insurance, license fees, on-site management fees, trash removal, water and sewer expenses or any other legally incurred obligation in the course of providing the required level of services to maintain the common areas. These expenses are budgeted annually by the HOA and will change depending upon needs to cover current expenses and to build reserves to defray capital expenditures such as roof replacement or parking lot resurfacing. These expenses are frequently charged based upon the square footage that an individual unit represents as a percentage of the total square footage in the complex. For example, the Downtown Omaha condominium conversion complex, Farnam 1600 Condominiums, which contains 76 units, charges $.22 per square foot for monthly HOA dues. These dues defray accounting, common area maintenance and building insurance, elevator maintenance, exterior maintenance, exterminating, legal issues, mechanical maintenance, on-site management, secured entry, trash removal, water, sewer, and reserves for future expenses. Therefore, a 1,000 square foot condominium unit in this complex would require HOA monthly assessment payments of $220, or $2,640 annually. In addition, unanticipated expenses (for example, termite damage) which are incurred may be defrayed by the HOA collecting one-time additional special assessments. The Greater Omaha Study Area The Greater Omaha condominium market was analyzed using data organized by zip codes as shown in Map 1. Zip codes 68102, 68105, and were designated as Downtown. Zip code areas 68110, 68111, 68104, 68134, 68114, 68132, 68124, 68106, 68127, and were designated Midtown. All other zip code areas included in the study, both in Douglas and Sarpy Counties, were designated Suburban.

3 Market Segmentation: The Omaha Condominium Market Page 3 Map 1. Delineated Areas of the Condominium Market Analyzed within the Douglas and Sarpy County areas of Greater Omaha* *NOTE: Zip Codes 68102, 68105, 68108, and are designated as Downtown. Zip codes 68110, 68111, 68104, 68134, 68114, 68132, 68124, 68106, 68127, 68117, and are designated Midtown. All other Zip Codes are designated Suburban. Analyzing the Data Data used in the analysis was obtained from the Douglas County Assessor s office and the Great Plains Multiple Listing Service (MLS) of the Omaha Area Board of Realtors. By combining these data sources the analysts were able to obtain information on condominiums both sold by owners without assistance from brokers and those sold by brokers and other members of the MLS. A total of 2,401 sales data records were included in the period of 2000 through August 2006 as shown by Chart 1.

4 Market Segmentation: The Omaha Condominium Market Page 4 Chart 1. Total Condominium Sales in the Greater Omaha Area by Sub-Regions, Total Condominium Sales in Omaha by Sub-Regions, ,500 2,000 Number of Sales 1,500 1,000 Series All Downtown Sub-Region Midtown Suburban S1 Overall Mean and Median Condominium Values The Greater Omaha housing market has undergone expansion during the decade of the 2000 s. The niche market for condominium development and sales has also increased dramatically. As shown by Table 1, the overall number of sales has trended upward from 245 recorded in 2000 to 428 sales through the first 8 months of 2006, averaging 343 sales per year. The average sale price has steadily increased from the $125,000 range to a high of more than $162,000 in The median value has also increased from $105,000 to slightly more than $145,000 in Wide variations continue to occur in the range of condominium prices across time with minimum values less than $20,000 and the maximum exceeding $1 million. Over the 6 year 8 month period analyzed, the average sale price was $143,584, with an average median value of $132,000. Table 1. Select Data for Condominium Sale Prices in the Greater Omaha Area 2000 through August 2006* Year Sold Number Minimum Maximum Mean Median $19,000 $585,000 $127,249 $105, ,100 1,200, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,179 All ,200 1,200, , ,000 *Source: Authors calculations using Douglas County and Sarpy County Assessor s Data combined with the Great Plains Multiple Listing Service. Data for the period indicated. This data was derived from Douglas and Sarpy County information.

5 Market Segmentation: The Omaha Condominium Market Page 5 Distribution of Condominium Sales among Sub-Regions Table 2 and Chart 2 provide information on the distribution of sales in the Greater Omaha submarkets. Although the inventory of newly developed and proposed condominium developments in the Downtown area have been aggressively advertised in recent times, sales in that market continue to represent a relatively small part of the overall market. During the time period analyzed, the Downtown market ranged from 16% to 23% with an average 18% share of the market. In contrast, the Suburban market ranged from 55% to 64% with an average of 62% during the study period. The Midtown ranged from 13% to 29% with an average of 20% during the study period. Table 2. Condominium Sale Distribution (Number and Percentage) in the Greater Omaha Area by Sub-region, 2000 through August 2006* Year Sold All Downtown Percentage Downtown Number Midtown Percentage Midtown Number Suburban Percentage Suburban Number All *Source: Douglas County Assessor s Data combined with the Great Plains Multiple Listing Service Data for the period indicated. Chart 2. Condominium Sale Distribution (Number and Percentage) in the Greater Omaha Area by Sub-region, 2000 through August 2006 Percentage and Number of Condominium Sales by Sub-Regions in Omaha, Number of Annual Sales all d_p d_n m_p m_n s_p s_n m_n s_n Year 0 d_n Sub-Region all

6 Market Segmentation: The Omaha Condominium Market Page 6 Median Sale Prices in the Submarkets Table 3 and Chart 3 were compiled to analyze the median sale prices in the sub-regions. The data shows, not surprisingly, through that the Downtown market has consistently produced the lowest median sale prices and the Suburban area the highest median sale prices. The 2006 data shows median values highest in the Downtown area and is consistent with the redevelopment renovation, adaptive reuse, conversion and supercession activities in that area targeting the up-scale condominium market. Whereas the median price of condominiums in the Downtown fluctuated widely between years (e.g., $74,000 in 2005 and $232,005 in 2006) the Midtown and Suburban areas were fairly consistent with much narrower year-to-year changes. Table 3. Condominium Median Sale Prices in the Greater Omaha Area by Sub-region, 2000 through August 2006* Year Sold All Downtown Midtown Suburban 2000 $105,100 $57,250 $105,050 $127, ,000 64,900 98, , ,900 71, , , ,900 58, , , , , , , ,150 74, , , , , , ,000 All 132,000 85, , ,550 *Source: Douglas County Assessor s Data combined with the Great Plains Multiple Listing Service Data for the period indicated. Chart 3. Condominium Median Sale Prices in the Greater Omaha Area by Sub-region, 2000 through August 2006 Condominium Median Sale Price by Sub-regions in Omaha,, all d m s ALL Note: all = Total Study Area: d = Downtown: m = Midtown: s = Suburban

7 Market Segmentation: The Omaha Condominium Market Page 7 Average Sale Price in each Sub-Region Although average sale prices for the overall Greater Omaha market trended upward over the study period glaring inconsistencies occurred in the sub-regions as shown in Table 4 and Chart 4. The average sale price in the Midtown market was higher in 2000 than in three of the subsequent years. The Suburban area was more consistent but the 2006 average price paid fell below the 2005 Average price by some $13,000. Clearly, the Downtown market has had the greatest year-to-year fluctuation with the largest spike occurring since Table 4. Condominium Average Sale Prices in the Greater Omaha Area by Sub-region, 2000 through August 2006* Year Sold All Downtown Midtown Suburban 2000 $127,249 $68,470 $149,779 $132, ,632 78, , , , , , , ,320 79, , , ,322 98, , , ,089 98, , , , , , ,162 All 143, , , ,678 *Source: Douglas County Assessor s Data combined with the Great Plains Multiple Listing Service Data for the period indicated. Chart 4. Condominium Average Sale Prices in the Greater Omaha Area by Sub-region, 2000 through August 2006 Condominium Average Sale Price by Sub-Region in Omaha, 2000-August , ,000 Annual Average Price 150, , All 50,000 - All Downtown Midtown Suburbs Sub-Region

8 Market Segmentation: The Omaha Condominium Market Page 8 Average Condominium Size by Sub-Regions The overall average size in square footage of all condominium units sold during the study period has not changed substantially as shown by Table 5 and Chart 5. Square footage was defined as total finished square feet per unit, and therefore could induce some bias in the data where some units have unfinished areas. The average square footage ranged from a low of 1,368 in 2001 to 1,448 in 2005 to an overall average of 1,412. Distinct differences occurred among submarkets however, with the smallest average size units sold in the Downtown area and the largest in the Midtown section. The greatest increase in size occurred in the Downtown area from 2005 to 2006 where the square footage increased by 18%, from 1,023 to 1,206 square feet. Even though Midtown had the overall largest average size units, in three of the surveyed years, the average size was largest in the Suburban market. Table 5. Average Condominium Size in Square Feet by Sub-region in Omaha, 2000 through August 2006 Year All Downtown Midtown Suburban ,411 1,049 1,551 1, ,368 1,143 1,515 1, ,443 1,246 1,593 1, , ,442 1, ,443 1,045 1,553 1, ,448 1,023 1,426 1, ,378 1,206 1,542 1,367 All 1,412 1,094 1,517 1,472 *Source: Douglas County Assessor s Data combined with the Great Plains Multiple Listing Service Data for the period indicated. Square footage was defined as total finished square footage. Chart 5. Average Condominium Size in Square Feet by Sub-region in Omaha, 2000 through August 2006* Average Condominium Size by Sub-regions in Omaha, ,800 1,600 1,400 1,200 Square Feet 1, all d m s all Year Note: all = Total Study Area: d = Downtown: m = Midtown: s = Suburban

9 Market Segmentation: The Omaha Condominium Market Page 9 Median Sale Price per Square Foot Table 6 and Chart 6 provides data on the median price per square foot for all single family residential (SFR) sales of less than 5,000 finished square feet in the Greater Omaha market and for the three condominium market sub-regions. The median sale price per square foot for all SFR sales held constant or increased steadily from $96 in 2000 to $106 in 2005 and then dropped by 1% to $105 during the first 8 months of The median for all condominium sale prices analyzed increased steadily from $82 per square foot in 2000 to a high of $115 by August It is noteworthy that the annual median square footage sale price of all SFR was higher in all years until 2006 when luxury condominium units began to be developed and offered for sale in the Downtown area. Prior to 2006, the Downtown area had the lowest median square footage sale prices of the three sub-regions. In four of the years studied, the Suburban area generated the highest median price per square foot while in the remaining three years the Midtown area prevailed with the highest prices. Table 6. Median Price per Square Foot, Condominiums and All Single Family Residential Units Less Than 5,000 Square Feet by Sub-region in Omaha, 2000-August 2006* Year Sold All All SFR Downtown Midtown Suburban 2000 $82 $94 $58 $84 $ All *Source: Douglas County Assessor s Data combined with the Great Plains Multiple Listing Service Data for the period indicated. Square footage was defined as total finished square footage. Chart 6. Median Price per Square Foot, Condominiums and All Single Family Residential Units Less Than 5,000 Square Feet by Sub-region in Omaha, 2000-August 2006 Median Price per Square Foot, Condominiums and All Single Family Residential Units, by Select Areas in Omaha, 2000-August Median Price/Sq. Ft All 50 - All All SFR Downtown Midtown Suburbs

10 Market Segmentation: The Omaha Condominium Market Page 10 Average Sale Price per Square Foot Average sale price per square foot for the three sub-regions is presented in Table 7 and Chart 7. Also included for comparison were the SFR averages for the same time periods. For the time period 2000 through 2005 the SFR averages in each year were higher than the condominium averages. In 2006, the average square footage prices of condominiums were higher by 15% $121 versus $105 for SFR) due to the relative mix of new more costly units being offered in the Downtown and in the Suburban areas. In contrast, the average for 2006 in the Midtown market showed the lowest prices in the last three years. Table 7. Average Price per Square Foot, Condominiums and All Single Family Residential (SFR) Units Less Than 5,000 Square Feet by Sub-region in Omaha, 2000-August 2006* Year Sold All All SFR Downtown Midtown Suburban 2000 $85 $97 $60 $89 $ All *Source: Douglas County Assessor s Data combined with the Great Plains Multiple Listing Service Data for the period indicated. Square footage was defined as total finished square footage. Chart 7. Average Price per Square Foot, Condominiums and All Single Family Residential (SFR) Units Less Than 5,000 Square Feet by Sub-region in Omaha, 2000-August 2006 Average Price per Square Foot, Condominiums and All Single Family Residential Units, by Select Areas in Omaha, 2000-August Ave. $/Sq. Ft All All All SFR Downtown Midtown Suburbs Location

11 Market Segmentation: The Omaha Condominium Market Page 11 Percentage Change in Average and Median Condominium Sale Prices Change in property values over time is important to buyers and sellers as well as those who provide service to the residential real estate market such as lenders, appraisers and insurance representatives. Table 8 and Chart 8 presents the percentage change in average and median condominium sale prices by sub-region for the time periods studied. For the condominium market analyzed, median sales prices increased an average of 5.4% annually from 2000 through 2006 but declined by about 1% from 2005 through August Within the sub-regions, the largest increase was experienced in the Downtown area where median prices advanced about 44% annually over the study period and increased, due to changed product mix, a dramatic 214% between 2005 and August In contrast, median sales prices advanced less than 2% annually in the Suburban area and recorded a drop of 13% between 2005 and August The Midtown area fared slightly better with just over 3% appreciation noted from 2000-August 2006, but recorded a drop of 2.4% from 2005-August Average price changes followed median price changes rather closely. The overall average price increase for all sub-regions was 4%, with a price decline recorded of 6.1% from 2005 through August Table 8. Percentage Change in Average and Median Condominium Sale Prices by Subregion in Omaha, Selected Years* Median Sale Price All Downtown Midtown Suburban Ave. Annual % 43.6% 3.1% 1.6% 2005-August % 213.5% -2.4% -13.0% Average Sale Price All Downtown Midtown Suburban Ave. Annual % 30.5% 0.0% 2.2% 2005-August % 117.3% -8.3% -8.0% *Source: Douglas County Assessor s Data combined with the Great Plains Multiple Listing Service Data for the period indicated Chart 8. Percentage Change in Median Condominium Sale Prices by Sub-region in Omaha, Selected Years Median Condominium Sale Price Changes in Sub-Regions of Omaha, Select Years Percent Change 1.00 Ave. annual ( ) (Aug) A l D Square Footage Price Changes l owntown Midtown Suburbs Location

12 Market Segmentation: The Omaha Condominium Market Page 12 Residential housing unit sale prices not only vary over time by location and type, but also with regard to size and amenities. Table 9 provides change information in median and average square feet sale prices by sub-regions and for all single family residential units of 5,000 or less total finished square feet in the study area. The results showed that median square footage sale prices increased by about 5.7% over the study period and a sizeable 15% from 2005 through August Similarly, the average square footage price of all units sold increased by 6.1% during the study period and increased a dramatic 17.5% from 2005 through August Results of the increase in square footage prices in the condominium market segment are in direct contrast to changes in SFR square footage prices. Overall, the median SFR square footage prices advanced 1.7% annually during the study period and actually dropped 1% from 2005 through August Average square footage prices fared even worse by increasing just 1.2% annually during the study period and dropped about 1% from 2005 through August Individual condominium sub-markets produced some surprising and mixed results with regard to square footage price appreciation. While the Downtown area benefited from sales within new condominium developments which resulted in an average square footage sale price increase of 27% annually over the study period, the results were more typical of the overall Greater Omaha housing market. In the Midtown section average square footage sale prices increased by a modest 1.8% over the study period and declined 2% from 2005 through August The Suburban area fared slightly better by annual average increases of 5% over the study period, and realized a healthy 9.5% increase from 2005 through August Table 9. Percentage Change in Average and Median Condominium and All Single Family Residential (SFR) Units Square Foot Sale Prices by Sub-region in Omaha, Selected Years* Median Sq. Ft. Prices All All SFR Downtown Midtown Suburban Ave. Annual % 1.7% 35.2% 0.9% August % -1.0% 151.3% -6.3% 12.5% Average Sq. Ft. Prices All All SFR Downtown Midtown Suburban Ave. Annual % 1.2% 27.1% 1.8% 5.0% 2005-August % -0.9% 95.5% -2.0% 9.5% *Source: Douglas County Assessor s Data combined with the Great Plains Multiple Listing Service Data for the period indicated. Square footage was defined as total finished square footage. The data for SFR units included all sales with 5,000 or less total finished square feet.

13 Market Segmentation: The Omaha Condominium Market Page 13 Summary and Conclusions The condominium market in Omaha is well established in the Midtown and Suburban areas and undergoing development and expansion in the Downtown area. Based on past documented demand trends in other markets across the United States, successful entry level markets will continue to be located in areas with household formation in the age group who are looking for alternatives to renting. New entrants to this market may be looking for rent-ready units, an alternative to renting. Similarly, the baby boomer segment will be increasingly demanding retirement- and second-homes as this group matures. Moreover, areas with population, income and job growth should sustain the condominium market. Other economic and financial factors will also influence market demand. A major component will be the ability to maintain a price spread between single family detached housing and comparable condominium units when the added mandatory expense of the monthly homeowner association fee is considered. This spread is important as the mandatory monthly HOA fee represents a fixed cost which involves a legally binding obligation, subject to being increased as cost considerations change, and foreclosed upon via lien status on the individual unit if not paid when due. For example, a HOA obligation of $2,400 per year is the equivalent of paying $40,000 more for the unit at a capitalization rate of 6%. The research examined 2,401 condominium sales occurring between 2000 and through August 2006 in the Greater Omaha Area comprised of Douglas and Sarpy Counties. As the number of units and characteristics varied significantly by region of the city, the data was analyzed by dividing the area into three regions Downtown, Midtown and Suburban locations as shown in Map 1. The findings showed that the average sale price increased from $127,249 in 2000 to $162,486 in the first 8 months of The average square footage during the same period of time held almost constant at about 1,400 square feet per unit, although the largest average unit size of 1,517 square feet occurred in the midtown section of Omaha. The most significant changes in median price per square foot occurred in the downtown area where prices averaged $201 per square foot, more than doubling from the $80 per square foot average levels of This dramatic change resulted from the expanded development and adaptive reuse activity which occurred near the central business district location of the Downtown area. This rapid increase in prices in the Downtown area may be difficult to sustain as the data showed that this market segment is priced substantially above prices found in competing submarkets. This is especially troublesome when reviewing condominium markets in other areas of the country where a rule of thumb indicates that condominium prices are typically positioned in the market at prices below that of comparable single family detached housing price in the neighborhood in which they compete. Based on the current number of listed properties in the Multiple Listing Service and the average sales rate over the last seven years, there is approximately a 3-year supply of condominiums in the greater Omaha market currently available for sale. Recently announced condominium developments in the downtown area could add substantially to that inventory of unsold units.

14 Market Segmentation: The Omaha Condominium Market Page 14 Bibliography Douglas County, Nebraska Assessor s website at Omaha Area Board of Realtors Great Plains Multiple Listing Service Database located on the web at Sindt, Roger, Nielsen, Donald and Decker, Christopher, Affordable Lending Policies and Other Factors Affecting Homeownership in the Midwest, published in the Regional Business Journal, Volume 23, Sindt, Roger P. and Wilborn, Paul, Factors Affecting Condominium Construction and Conversion: The Houston Experience, unpublished paper presented to the mid-year meetings of the American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, Washington, D.C., May 1979, pp 34. U. S. Bureau of the Census, American Housing Survey for the United States: 2003, Table 2.1, Introductory Characteristics Occupied Units.

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